CANBERRA, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Labor Party (ALP) has elected Bill Shorten as its next federal leader after a month- long battle for this top job between Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten on Sunday afternoon in Canberra.
Before the 2013 election was called, then Leader of ALP Kevin Rudd convinced the federal Labor Caucus to endorse a new rule allowing the leadership to be determined by a ballot weighted 50 percent caucus members and 50 percent ordinary members of the party. With Rudd has stepped down, there is a push within the ALP for the rule change to be given its first test run.
According to the new rules, if there is a contest, new party rules stipulate that the leader must be elected jointly by the party membership and by Caucus, with each given equal weight of 50 percent.
Grassroots members will vote first and then caucus will conduct a ballot without knowing the result of the community poll.
The result was announced to the Caucus at a special meeting in Parliament House on Sunday afternoon. According to the result, Bill Shorten secured 63.9 percent of the Caucus vote and 40 percent of the members vote for an overall total of 52 percent in this leadership campaign. He will now lead the ALP in opposition as it faces off against Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Labor national president Jenny McAllister said on Sunday afternoon that Shorten emerges from the "largest, most democratic process ever faced by any candidate for Labor's leadership."
"We gave our members a say in the most important decision made by our political party and they've responded with vigor," she said. "There has been more than 30,000 votes cast. That's 74 percent of eligible voters, and we received more than 4,000 expressions of interest from new members."
Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard congratulated Bill Shorten on her twitter. "Congratulations to Bill Shorten on becoming Labor leader. A great honor! I wish Bill all the best," she said.
According to local media, Bill Shorten was one of the main powerbrokers behind the ousting of Kevin Rudd in 2010 - earning Bill Shorten the damning label of "prime ministerial assassin". And three years later the assassin struck again, when he abandoned Julia Gillard to back Kevin Rudd before the 2013 federal election.
Over the past six years of government, Albanese has held key ministers including deputy prime minister, minister for infrastructure, transport, broadband, communications and the digital economy, and leader of the House of Representatives in the Gillard/Rudd government.
And Bill Shorten has held key ministries including education and workplace relations in the Rudd/Gillard government. Before entering parliament, he was a union official, holding the position of national secretary for the Australian Workers' Union between 2001 and 2007.