Australia

'I'm not Tony Abbott': Albanese's message to Morrison as he takes over Labor leadership

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Anthony Albanese is the new federal Labor leader and he's promised to "strongly, forcefully" hold Scott Morrison to account.

Anthony Albanese has become the new leader of the Australian Labor Party.

Nominations for the role closed on Monday morning and Mr Albanese was the only person to put his hand up.

"I understand that it is a big mountain that we have to climb ... There are only three Labor leaders who have led Labor into government from opposition since World War II," he told reporters.

"I want to reach out to those who didn't support Labor last Saturday."

Mr Albanese said there were "many lessons we need to learn" from the shock election loss and he "intends to hasten slowly when it comes to policy development".

He said Australia has "conflict fatigue" after years of confrontational federal politics.

"I say this to Scott Morrison - I'm not Tony Abbott. People want solutions, not arguments. They have conflict fatigue. Some reforms require bipartisan support," he said.

Anthony Albanese at a Balmain pub.
Anthony Albanese at a Balmain pub.
AAP

He briefly addressed climate change, saying "the science is in, climate change is real, we must act".

"The business community ... is crying out for certainty and it is time that the government worked with the opposition to deliver that certainty going into the future. So, I am neither a climate sceptic, nor am I a market sceptic, when it comes to action on climate change."

Victorian MP Richard Marles is in line to be his deputy, again being the only person with his hat in the ring for the job on Monday.

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Albanese speaks for the first time after being elected Labor leader
Albanese speaks for the first time after being elected Labor leader

"It's really important that we understand what happened at the election. It's important we make sure we're talking to the widest range of people we can," Mr Marles said on Sunday.

Mr Albanese has also promised to talk to voters outside the Canberra and Labor bubbles in a bid to convince them his party can better represent them.

Labor has had a man and woman in the leadership team since 2001, except for a three-month stint in 2013 after Kevin Rudd got his revenge on Australia's first female prime minister Julia Gillard.

Anthony Albanese and Richard Marles.
Anthony Albanese and Richard Marles.
AAP

But Victorian MP Clare O'Neil dropped out of the race for deputy after her colleagues told her she needed more experience bringing the party together behind a leader.

"Richard Marles has got the skills and the qualities and the experience at this stage to be able to do that job really well," she said.

Mr Marles said it was important to maintain the party unity that Bill Shorten instilled in Labor after the tumultuous Rudd-Gillard years.

"Certainly I hope I can be a force for unity in the party," he said.

Labor's entire front bench also faces a shake-up following last weekend's unexpected federal election loss. 

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