New Australian Labor Party Leader Bill Shorten Vows to Battle Abbott Government’s Plan to Dismantle Carbon Pricing Scheme

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By Vittorio Hernandez | October 13, 2013 10:04 PM EST

Bill Shorten was elected on Sunday as the new leader of the Australian Labor Party (ALP). His first agenda as replacement for former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is to block the attempts by the Abbott government to dismantle the carbon pricing scheme.

Mr Shorten, who insisted that the carbon price should stay because MPs should not delay today's problem to tomorrow's generation, is expected to face an uphill battle because of the dominance of the Liberals in Parliament which resumes in early November.

'On something as important as putting a price on carbon pollution, I stated during the leadership campaign I believe it is important to maintain a price on carbon pollution," Mr Shorten said.

He was elected even if majority of ALP members wanted Anthony Albanese to lead the party, but Mr Shorten triumphed because the party used new rules introduced by Mr Rudd that the weight of the rank and file ballot is equal to that of Labor MPs.

With 55 of 86 votes in the caucus, Mr Shorten got 63.95 per cent support, plus 40.08 per cent from party members, giving him 52.02 per cent of the total votes.

Mr Albanese was preferred by 18,230 rank-and-file ALP members, while Mr Shorten was the choice of 12,196. The total of 30,426 ALP members represented 74 per cent of rank-and-file members.

ALP interim leader Chris Bowen described Mr Shorten as "a man who has dedicated his working life to representing vulnerable people ... whether they be workers (or) people with a disability."

Commenting on the new voting system, Mr Shorten said, "This is a very tight result but it's a result that has the support of the entire party. Yes, there'll be branch members who will be disappointed that their candidate didn't win but I think they'll be very grateful that they had a say, they'll have a say into the future."

He was first elected to Parliament in 2007 and is the second Labor leader in 18 years who have never served in Opposition. He has worked for the ouster of Mr Rudd in 2010 and Julia Gillard in 2013.

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