CANBERRA, May 27 (Xinhua) — Anthony Albanese has been elected unopposed to lead the Opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) following its loss in the nation’s general election.
Albanese, a member of Labor’s left-wing faction from New South Wales (NSW), will officially be named the leader of the party later in the week after he was the only person to put his name forward as a candidate before nominations closed on Monday morning.
Fellow NSW left member Tanya Plibersek and right faction members Chris Bowen from NSW and Jim Chalmers from Queensland were also considered front-runners for the job but chose not to run.
Speaking to reporters after he was confirmed as the leader-in-waiting, Albanese identified “conflict fatigue” as one of the key reasons Labor lost the general election on May 18.
The incumbent Liberal-National Party Coalition (LNP) and Prime Minister Scott Morrison defied opinion polls, all of which projected a Labor victory, to win a third term in government.
Conceding defeat on election night, Bill Shorten announced he was stepping down as leader of the ALP effective immediately.
“People want solutions, not arguments. They have conflict fatigue,” Albanese said on Monday.
He indicated that he would be willing to cooperate with the LNP on issues such as constitutional recognition for indigenous Australians and a consensus position on reducing carbon emissions.
“Let me say this unequivocally – the science is in, climate change is real, we must act,” Albanese said.
“Action will create jobs, it will benefit our economy and it will benefit our environment.”
However, he also promised to “forcefully” hold the government to account.
“I intend to do my best to work with the Australian people to ensure that we elect a Labor government next time,” he said.
Richard Marles, a member of the Labor right from Victoria, was elected unopposed as Labor’s deputy leader, taking over from Plibersek.
Labor is facing an uphill battle in Queensland where it suffered defeats in the election on May 18, partly because of its position on Adani’s proposed coal mine, which some members opposed despite its support among some locals.
“Coal clearly is going to play a significant part of the future energy mix in Australia and it’s clearly going to be a significant part of our economy,” Marles said on Monday.