/Chris Bowen expected to pull out of Labor leadership battle

Chris Bowen expected to pull out of Labor leadership battle


May 22, 2019 16:11:24

Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen has abandoned his bid to lead Labor just a day after announcing his candidacy.

Key points:

  • Chris Bowen announced his candidacy yesterday, vowing to challenge Anthony Albanese
  • The Shadow Treasurer now says it is clear he would not get enough support to become leader
  • Finance spokesman Jim Chalmers says he will decide overnight if he will seek the top job

His decision leaves Anthony Albanese as the only confirmed candidate for the Opposition’s top job.

The ALP national executive will meet this evening to determine the process to replace outgoing leader Bill Shorten following Labor’s shock election loss at the weekend.

“I have reached the view that it would be unlikely for me to win the ballot,” Mr Bowen said.

Mr Bowen is a member of Labor’s right faction, while Mr Albanese sits in the left.

Queensland Labor right MP Jim Chalmers, the Opposition finance spokesman, said on Monday he was considering nominating for the leadership.

He confirmed, just seconds after Mr Bowen’s press conference ended, he would announce his decision tomorrow.

“I’m being encouraged to nominate for leader and I’ll now consider my options overnight,” Mr Chalmers tweeted.

After Mr Bowen announced his candidacy a string of high-profile Labor politicians from both the left and right factions offered Mr Albanese their support.

They included Penny Wong, Tony Burke, Kristina Keneally, Catherine King and Terri Butler.

As Mr Bowen announced his candidacy yesterday, rank and file members of the NSW right were expressing their disbelief at his run for the top job.

“Over the last 48 hours I’ve been on the phone to colleagues. I’ve been very pleased with the response,” Mr Bowen said today.

“It’s clear to me that I would have majority support in the actual caucus ballot.

“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.”

The Labor leadership process allows rank-and-file members to have a say on who should lead the party.

The federal partyroom also casts a vote, and the two results are combined to determine who wins.

Mr Albanese announced on Sunday he would seek the leadership.

It is a role he sought back in 2013 but lost to Bill Shorten.

Mr Albanese won the membership vote but Mr Shorten won enough caucus support for him to take over the party.

Mr Bowen, 46, served as treasurer when Kevin Rudd briefly returned to the prime ministership in 2013.

He remained in the treasury portfolio when Mr Shorten took over the party in Opposition.

Mr Bowen was the architect of the contentious tax plans Labor took to the weekend’s election.

He yesterday defended the franking credits policy, arguing it would allow governments to spend more on health and education.

More to come.










First posted

May 22, 2019 15:34:50