Bill Shorten throws his hat in the ring for the ALP leadership, but not without paying tribute to his possible rival, Anthony Albanese.
Anthony Albanese was staying tight-lipped on the leadership issue.
LABOR MPs have all arrived for the first meeting of the Labor caucus since last Saturday’s election defeat and appointed Chirs Bowen as acting leader.
Kevin Rudd addressed caucus and said he bears “no malice” towards anyone who speaks out against him.
The former prime minister addressed the meeting for 10 minutes after nominations were formerly open.
Mr Albanese spoke after Mr Rudd and attacked the Murdoch media.
MPs now face the task of electing a new Labor leader.
Bill Shorten announced yesterday he would be a candidate and it is understood Anthony Albanese will nominate too.
Mr Albanese entered the caucus room alone.
Mr Shorten entered with fellow Victorian Richard Marles.
In a funny turn of events Labor Senator Kate Lundy walked into the wrong room for caucus.
Coalition party room and caucus meetings were held at the same time but the rooms switch over when government changes hands.
“Lol! I just walked into Govt party room,” she tweeted.
Nominations in caucus for for the leadership opened shortly after the meeting begun.
Kevin Rudd addressed the meeting before nominations opened.
He said he had “no malice” to those attacking him.
Earlier today, Albanese was coy on the leadership question, avoiding media questions when he arrived at Canberra airport.
“That’s a matter for the caucus rather than you with due respect,” he said.
Asked if he would nominate for the position of leader the former Deputy Prime Minister said: “That’s a matter for the caucus, I respect my caucus colleagues.”
“One of the things we need to do as a Labor Party is actually run our internals,” he said.
“There’s a reason for that word – it’s called internal.”
Asked on Bill Shorten his potential opponent, Mr Albanese simply said: “it’s a matter for the party”.
Chris Bowen will be Labor’s acting leader for a month if there is a leadership ballot between Bill Shorten and Anthony Albanese.
The former treasurer assumes the post because he is the next most senior Labor MP in the House of Representatives.
Arriving in Canberra Mr Shorten said he was “determined to make Labor as competitive as possible”.
Asked specifically on Mr Albanese he avoided questions on the matter.
“It’s nice to be back in Canberra,” Mr Shorten said.
Both men will front a meeting of the Labor caucus today where MPs will vote on who they think should be leader.
Tanya Plibersek said she was also waiting till the caucus meeting to see who nominated before publicly backing a candidate.
“We’ll see today who nominates,” Ms Plibersek said as she arrived at Canberra airport.
“We’ll have a decision today or we’ll have a month of democracy.”
Asked about comments yesterday that Bill Shorten made indicating she could be his deputy Ms Plibersek said: “Well normally you have a leader and a deputy from different states and different factions”.
“I am very grateful that we have two such fine people (Albanese and Shorten) to choose from,” she said.
“I would be very happy for both to nominate, I would be very happy to have a democratic process but beyond that we just have to wait and see what happens. There is no hurry with any of these things.”
Tanya Plibersek voting on election day.
Bill Shorten yesterday announced his intention to run and said he would be the best person to return Labor to an election winning position.
Labor MP Richard Marles said he would be backing Mr Shorten in any ballot today.
But he said Mr Albanese would also be an “outstanding leader” if elected.
Brisbane MP Shayne Neumann said his vote would also be going to Mr Shorten because of his achievements on the NDIS and other programs.
Labor national secretary George Wright also landed in Canberra ahead of the caucus meeting.
“I think we’ve got some good candidates and we’ll leave it with the caucus to decide,” Mr Wright said.
Penny Wong said that she would reserve her position until caucus met.
“I look forward to discussing the matter with my caucus colleagues,” she said.
Jenny Macklin and Mark Dreyfus remained coy on their positions.
Betfair is favouring Anthony Albanese to be the next Labor leader.
Bill Shorten was favourite at $1.61 this morning, but is now the $2.30 outsider in the market.
“Bill Shorten was all the rage as late as this morning, but after being as short as $1.32, he’s now a big outsider to lead Labor,” said the agency’s spokesperson, Daniel Bevan.
Meanwhile Barnaby Joyce has been voted Deputy Leader of the National Party in his first party room meeting since being elected to the House of Representatives.
The freshly elected Member for New England will be deputy to Nationals leader Warren Truss, who has had his position confirmed.
Liberal MPs have also confirmed Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop as their leader and deputy leader.
Mr Abbott is expected to finalise his front bench within days before being officially sworn in as Prime Minister next week.