QUEENSLAND Labor MP Jim Chalmers has confirmed he will not be contesting the Labor leadership, clearing the way for Anthony Albanese to take the reins unopposed.
In a statement on Thursday, Chalmers said he would be throwing his support behind Albanese to succeed Bill Shorten as Labor leader following the party’s defeat at the federal election.
“I won’t be putting my hand up for the leadership of the Australian Labor Party this time around,” he said.
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“I gave it very careful consideration and I didn’t take it lightly. There were good reasons to run.
“But in the end I couldn’t be assured of winning, and if I did win the extra responsibilities of leadership would make it much harder to do my bit at home while the youngest of our three little kids is only five-months-old.
“I spoke to Anthony Albanese this morning and told him I will enthusiastically support him and work tirelessly with our team to give Australians the Labor Government they need and deserve at the next opportunity.”
BREAKING: Jim Chalmers has spoken to Anthony Albanese and will not be contesting the leadership. He has backed Albanese for the leadership. Albanese will be the new Labor leader unopposed
— David Speers (@David_Speers) May 23, 2019
The Shadow Finance Minister said he still wants to “play a substantial role in rebuilding, renewing and refreshing our Party and its policies after Saturday’s stinging defeat”.
“As a Queenslander I want the best state in Australia to have a more prominent voice in the alternative government,” he said.
“I want to thank the many parliamentary colleagues, branch members, activists, and people from the broader labour movement and from communities right around Australia who contacted me and urged me to run on a platform of generational change.
“I have been genuinely surprised by the magnitude of their support and encouragement and I hope I haven’t let them down in making this decision.”
I won’t be putting my hand up for the leadership of the Australian Labor Party this time around. (1/7)
— Jim Chalmers MP (@JEChalmers) May 23, 2019
Anthony Albanese is now the only declared candidate for the Labor leadership after Chris Bowen bowed out of the race on Wednesday.
Albanese has been the Member for Grayndler since 1996 and served as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Deputy Leader of the Labor Party in 2013, as well as a Cabinet Minister in the Rudd and Gillard Governments.