Labor looks to reset with voters after shock election loss


Labor's new leadership team say they'll reach outside the Labor bubble to speak to all voters in a bid to understand their shock election loss on May 18.

Anthony Albanese and Richard Marles are promising to talk to Australians who didn't vote for Labor in a bid to understand their shock election loss.

The two men are set to be Labor's new leadership team after Victorian MP Clare O'Neil dropped out of the race to be deputy.

No other challengers have put their names forward to replace Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek, with nominations to close on Monday. Caucus will meet on Thursday.

Richard Marles at Parliament House.
Richard Marles at Parliament House.

"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 told reporters in Melbourne 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 woman prime minister Julia Gillard.

Labor frontbencher Clare O'Neil in Question Time.
Labor frontbencher Clare O'Neil in Question Time.

But Ms O'Neil said 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," Ms O'Neil told the ABC's Insiders.

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.

Ms O'Neil did have a crack at Labor's "much too crowded" collection of policies.

"We took a big, unwieldy, risky policy agenda to the election and it was hard to explain and it was hard to defend and very easy to weaponise," Ms O'Neil said.

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

Immigration spokesman and Queensland MP Shayne Neumann is already on the defensive amid reports he may have to make way on the front bench for Kristina Keneally.

"We can't keep giving over 20 seats to the LNP in Queensland out of 30 and think that we will form government nationally," he told the ABC on Saturday.

But former Labor treasurer and now the party's national president Wayne Swan believes "failure to win isn't fatal".

"What's required is the courage to fight on against the Trumpification of the Libs & their alliance with the far right," he tweeted.

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