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Bill falls on his sword: Shorten stands down as Labor leader after a humiliating election defeat at the hands of Scott Morrison - as contenders line up to replace him

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 18/05/2019 Hannah Moore For Daily Mail Australia

Video provided by Nine News

Bill Shorten has stood down as Leader of the Opposition after losing his second election. 

The Labor Leader suffered a humiliating defeat against Prime Minister Scott Morrison, despite telling reporters on Saturday he would be 'hitting the ground running' on Sunday.  

Opinion polls predicted the party would enjoy a comfortable win and be able to form majority government, but what should have been a night of triumph ended in one of defeat. 

In an emotional speech to supporters late on Saturday night, he said he was 'disappointed by the result' and that he wished he could have won 'for the true believers' and for the late Bob Hawke.

'Now that the contest is over, all of us have a responsibility to respect the result, respect the wishes of the Australian people and to bring our nation together,' he said. 

'However that task will be one for the next leader of the Labor Party because while I intend to continue to serve as the member for Maribyrnong, I will not be a candidate in the next Labor leadership ballot.'

a man wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Mr Shorten's speech was praised by voters as 'inspiring' and 'graceful'. 

As he spoke, his wife Chloe stood close by his side, gazing adoringly at her husband as he resigned from the leadership. 

A Labor win was expected to be a sure thing, with a Newspoll held on the eve of the election showing Labor leading the Coalition 51.5 per cent to 48.5 per cent on a two-party-preferred vote basis. 

But it was not meant to be.  

As votes flooded in, there was an early swing to the Coalition and Labor never recovered. 

While it will take days for the party to work out exactly what went wrong, political pundits are already speculating.

a person wearing a suit and tie: The Labor leader of six years has outlasted two Liberal Prime Ministers before calling it quits on Saturday © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Labor leader of six years has outlasted two Liberal Prime Ministers before calling it quits on Saturday

ABC's Andrew Probyn said Labor sources told him they believed their chances were 'killed' by the Coalition's preference deals with Clive Palmer's United Australia Party and Pauline Hanson's One Nation. 

Troy Bramston, a columnist for The Australian, said Labor sources had told him they were 'stunned and shocked, and it looks like a diabolical night for their party'.

Mr Shorten has led the Labor Party since October 2013, when he took over from former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. 

In 2016, Shorten led Labor to gain 14 seats in an election where Malcolm Turnbull was only able to form a Coalition government by a single seat. 

Bill Shorten wearing a suit and tie: In an emotional speech, he told supporters he wished he could have won for the Party's true believers and Bob Hawke © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited In an emotional speech, he told supporters he wished he could have won for the Party's true believers and Bob Hawke

He did not nominate a successor in his concession speech, but notably thanked Tanya Plibersek, Penny Wong and Chris Bowen - excluding Anthony Albanese.  

Anthony Albanese will reportedly put his hand up for the the top job, having only narrowly lost the leadership ballot to Mr Shorten six years ago.

His decision to run was reported by Sky News' David Speers - while Mr Shorten was still on stage conceding the election. 

a group of people standing in front of a sign: Anthony Albanese, who previously put his hand up for the top job in 2013, will be a contender for future leader of the party © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Anthony Albanese, who previously put his hand up for the top job in 2013, will be a contender for future leader of the party

He comfortably won his seat in Sydney's inner-west against the Greens' Jim Casey on Saturday night, and addressed supporters with what appeared to be a bid for the leadership, noting he would work in 'whatever capacity' to return the party to power.

'The Labor Party doesn't seek to form government to change who sits in ministerial cars. We seek to form government to change the country,' he said to thunderous applause.  

'Bill Shorten as the leader and our entire team have worked incredibly hard over recent times. I have been someone who has never put myself before the Labor Party as a whole.  

'And as part of that team I must accept, as we must collectively, responsibility for the fact the many people who rely on us will be disappointed that the outcome tonight is uncertain. 

'But what I am convinced about, and have been convinced about since I joined the Labor Party in school, is that this movement is bigger than any individual.'

He went on to slam the Coalition for running a 'campaign of fear', and said he would work in 'whatever capacity' to bring Labor to power. 

'This movement, which has been in existence since 1891, standing up for the interests of working class people and standing up to change the power balance in society, whether that be economic power, political power or social power, that is our task and it is one that I will continue to pursue whether in Government or, if we aren't fortunate to be in Government, in whatever capacity over the coming days, weeks, months and years.'

Deputy Leader Tanya Plibersek is another strong contender for the leadership, having taken a starring role in Mr Shorten's campaign. 

a group of people posing for the camera: Tanya Plibersek is another favourite for the leadership, with the Deputy Leader expected to put her hand up now Mr Shorten has stood down © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Tanya Plibersek is another favourite for the leadership, with the Deputy Leader expected to put her hand up now Mr Shorten has stood down

Ms Plibersek was often seen by Mr Shorten's side, her smiling face often in stark contrast to Mr Shorten's wooden demeanor. 

She became Deputy Leader of the party in 2013, when Mr Shorten became leader, and previously served as a cabinet minister in the governments of former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.

The Member for Sydney also comfortably held on to her seat, but declined to say if Mr Shorten would be ousted or if she would contend for the leadership.  

'I think we might wait for the ballot papers to be done before we do that,' she said when asked by ABC's Leigh Sales if Bill Shorten was 'done'.

'We've got about 4.7million pre-poll votes to count, postal votes... it adds up to about six million votes.

'I think we can say we didn't do as well as we had hoped, especially in Queensland, you've gotta say the strong One Nation and Palmer United Party preference flows to the LNP in Qld have certainly helped them there, so you can imagine the chaotic dent that will happen there in the future.

'There's still a lot of votes to count, and I'm very proud of the campaign we've run. Bill ran a fantastic campaign and he had a great team behind him.'

Penny Wong, who was sitting on the ABC panel, would not be drawn on her predictions, claiming the results were not fully in yet.

 

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