Labor’s treasury spokesman Chris Bowen has pulled out of the Labor leadership race, paving the way for Anthony Albanese to take the lead.
Just hours after announcing his plans to compete for the spot, the 46-year-old scheduled a press conference in which he claimed he no longer wanted to battle it out for the position.
Appearing in front of reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Bowen said he wouldn’t be challenging Albanese – admitting his colleague has the support to run and it was clear he wouldn’t be able to beat him.
“It’s clear to me that I would have majority support in the actual caucus ballot,” the politician said. “Not a big majority, but majority support with some support from the left faction as well as support from the right faction, and people that aren’t in any faction.
“But it’s also clear to me, I’m a realist, that Albo would win the rank and file – for good reason, he’s a popular character – by a good margin. Hence I have reached the view that it would be unlikely for me to win the ballot.”
Bowen added: “It wouldn’t be fair for me to put the party through the cost, the process or the delay of choosing their next leader. I wish Albo the best and I wish anyone else who makes it into the Ballot the best.”
The Labor Party caucus rules state that all ballots must be received 27 days after the call for nominations.
Counting will take place three days later.
The vote for leader is split 50-50 between caucus and grassroots members, giving the 40,000-plus rank and file supporters a say in the party’s leadership
Just minutes after Bowen’s press conference, Jim Chalmers revealed he was considering running for the top job – but admitted he hadn’t made up his mind yet.
He tweeted: “I feel for Chris & I know it would’ve been hard for him to pull out. I’m being encouraged to nominate for leader & I’ll now consider my options overnight. @AustralianLabor needs to rebuild, refresh & renew & I want to play a prominent role in that. What role is to be determined.”
I feel for Chris & I know it would’ve been hard for him to pull out. I’m being encouraged to nominate for leader & I’ll now consider my options overnight. @AustralianLabor needs to rebuild, refresh & renew & I want to play a prominent role in that. What role is to be determined.
— Jim Chalmers MP (@JEChalmers) May 22, 2019
The announcement follows comments made on Tuesday by Bowen that he was the right person for the job.
“Albo probably goes in the favourite but the Labor Party went in to Saturday the favourite too,” he said according to The Sydney Morning Herald. “I’m a bit over favourites.”
There had also been speculation that Tanya Plibersek would take a shot at the position but this was later denied by the politician who announced she was not planning to run.
“I am overwhelmed by the confidence my colleagues, the union movement, and Labor Party members have placed in me,” she said in a statement according to the ABC.
“I thank them from the bottom of my heart for their support. But now is not my time.”
While at the moment Albanese is believed to take out the top spot, the ballot is still open meaning more candidates could step forward with their intentions to run.