And the winner is …

Tanya Plibersek.

Bill Shorten was elected as Labor’s nightwatchman yesterday. He’ll lead the party to the next election thanks to the reforms that make it so hard to depose him (that is, for others to do what he did to two leaders). An election he will almost certainly lose.

Plibersek will be elected unopposed as deputy leader today, after cleverly backing factional ally Anthony Albanese in the leadership contest while agreeing to serve alongside Shorten if he was elected — shoring up his caucus support. She’s smart and politically savvy. She’s wildly popular among the left-wing faithful, and sensible enough to win over the Right rump. She’s an effective and believable communicator — something Shorten and the previous two Labor leaders all struggled with — with as clean a hand as any after Labor’s bloody internal battles. She’s a woman, at a time when plenty want revenge for the way Julia Gillard was treated.

In three years’ time she’ll be ready to lead. In six, it could be the Lodge.

Albanese might have had a shot in 2016. Now it’s Plibersek best positioned to be the next Labor prime minister of Australia.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.