Bill Shorten has promised to be ''less relentlessly negative'' than Tony Abbott was as opposition leader but will not wave through the repeal of the pollution tax, setting up a showdown over carbon pricing within months.
Mr Shorten, 46, was announced as Labor's 20th parliamentary leader yesterday after an exhaustive double-blind ballot of branch members and MPs, in which six out of 10 ordinary ALP members opted for Anthony Albanese.
But Mr Shorten, who entered Parliament only in 2007, secured the bulk of the caucus votes which, under the twin-ballot system, were worth about 350 ordinary branch votes.
''This ballot has been historic,'' Mr Shorten said, also calling it ''inspirational'' and ''transparent''.
He said that as opposition leader he would not be drawn into a daily commentary on every issue but wanted it known that the carbon price was not negotiable.
Bill Shorten: 'This leadership ballot I think has been inspirational, and it has also been transparent and open.'
''On something as important as putting a price on carbon pollution, I've stated during the leadership campaign that I believe it is important to maintain a price on carbon pollution,'' he said in Canberra.
Mr Albanese, 50, announced he would not recontest his position as deputy leader, leaving the way open for the rising star, Tanya Plibersek to step in. Mr Shorten has endorsed the Left-aligned Sydney MP, offering the party a cross-factional, cross-state, and cross-gender leadership duo.
Chris Bowen, the interim leader since the election last month, will be shadow treasurer, matching him against Joe Hockey.
Labor's 86-strong caucus will meet in Parliament House on Monday morning to formally elect a deputy leader and frontbench. Mr Shorten will allocate frontbench responsibilities on Friday.
Jockeying for positions is already intense amid suggestions that rising stars such as Ed Husic may be overlooked as factions again flex their muscles.
Fifty-five MPs backed the Right-faction-aligned Mr Shorten compared with just 31 for Mr Albanese, as some on the Left of the parliamentary party switched to Mr Shorten late in the 30-day period.
Mr Shorten received the support of 63.95 per cent of his parliamentary colleagues, which, when combined with the backing of 40.08 per cent of rank-and-file party members, was enough to get him over the line with an overall 52.02 per cent proportion of the vote. A total of 30,426 party members voted, representing about 74 per cent of the rank and file. Mr Albanese won 18,230 of these votes to Mr Shorten's 12,196.
After the vote, Mr Abbott confirmed he would not require Ms Bryce's resignation. ''The Governor-General offered to leave office early to avoid any perception of bias, but due to the fact that she will retire in March next year and that the government commands the House of Representatives with a significant margin, I have thanked her for her magnanimity but declined to accept her resignation, instead asking that she conclude her full term,'' he said.
''I am grateful that she has kindly agreed to my request.''
ALP national secretary George Wright said the two candidates had spent about $75,000 each on their campaigns, with two-thirds of the funds provided by the party and the rest raised from private sources, believed to be mostly unions.
Labor MPs across the board lauded the new democratic mechanisms for electing the leader, despite the appearance that the rank-and file selection was overwhelmed by the expression of factional discipline within the caucus. Asked whether the result provided an argument for the leadership to be determined entirely by party members, Mr Bowen said he believed the new system struck the right balance.
''I think this process is now here to stay,'' he 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 and they'll have a say into the future.
''Never again can the branch members of our great party be taken for granted or ignored. Anybody who seeks to lead the Labor Party will need to pay them due deference and respect.''
Under the new system, each vote in caucus is worth 354 votes from ordinary members.
Earlier, Labor strategist Bruce Hawker said that over time Labor should move to a system by which exclusive power to choose the leader was given to party members. ''We've got a 50-50 system and I think that's a good start,'' Mr Hawker said. ''I think we're going to find that people are going to be demanding more reform inside the Labor Party rather than less.''
With Dan Harrison