Craig Emerson attacks Kevin Rudd as Labor looks to Bill Shorten as leader

Potential new leader: Bill Shorten. Photo: Wayne HawkinsShattered Labor MPs are likely to install Bill Shorten as party leader under a consensus plan designed to avoid a rank-and-file ballot and put the bitter divisions of the Rudd and Gillard era behind them.

While former deputy prime minister Anthony Albanese remains in the frame with strong support in the parliamentary caucus, he is said to favour standing aside to allow the younger Mr Shorten through and avoid a contest.

Labor’s intention to stabilise itself quickly in the public eye was undermined on Monday night when Kevin Rudd loyalist and confidante Kim Carr told the ABC that the former prime minister had no intention of leaving Parliament because he had more to do as the MP for Griffith.

That brought a withering response from another former minister, Craig Emerson.

He unloaded on his fellow Queenslander, describing Mr Rudd as a destabilising influence who had it in his nature to undermine.

Mr Rudd would inevitably stalk the next leader, too, Mr Emerson said.

”It is in the best interests of the party for Kevin Rudd to leave the Parliament,” he told 7.30.

”It’s always been about Kevin, it hasn’t been about the parliamentary Labor party, it hasn’t been about Labor values. It’s always been about Kevin … always will be and as a consequence, the new opposition leader would be destabilised by Kevin Rudd remaining in the Parliament.”

The public disagreement flared for Labor as incoming prime minister Tony Abbott considered wider personnel changes to his frontbench line-up in government with at least one shadow minister, Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, rumoured to be dropped, and another, Sophie Mirabella, likely to lose her seat in Parliament.

Mr Abbott is struggling to address a harsh gender imbalance in his executive even before the removal of Mrs Mirabella, with just eight women among more than 40 frontbenchers and only two in shadow cabinet.

Mr Abbott flew to Canberra on Monday to continue transition-to-government talks with his leadership colleagues including deputy Julie Bishop and Nationals leader Warren Truss.

Both sides of politics are rapidly reconfiguring their frontbench teams in light of the outcome of Saturday’s election.

Former treasurer Chris Bowen ruled himself out of the Labor leadership race on Monday but made the case to serve in the shadow treasury portfolio.

Sources close to Mr Albanese say he is widely backed but leans towards serving in another capacity in the hope of seeing more of his family. Advocates say his ability to ‘‘throw haymakers from day one’’ could be vital in taking the fight up to the new Abbott government, but concede he is unlikely to stand.

Jockeying is also under way over the looming Senate vacancy likely to be created by former foreign affairs minister Bob Carr.

Mr Abbott is working on his front bench team to be unveiled by the weekend but is hampered by the need to trim the overall number of ministers to meet legal requirements.

Several senior jobs have already been locked in. These include the key posts of treasurer and foreign affairs, to be held by Joe Hockey and Julie Bishop respectively.

Mr Truss is a certainty for transport and infrastructure, as is Scott Morrison  for immigration.

A complex situation has been made worse by the possible defeat of Mr Abbott’s industry spokeswoman, Mrs Mirabella, and by Mr Abbott’s own displeasure at the performance of the NSW right-wing Liberal Party powerbroker Senator Fierravanti-Wells.

Mrs Mirabella’s future turns on the count in her regional Victorian seat of Indi after a spirited local campaign by the Nationals-aligned independent  Cathy McGowan.

Fairfax Media understands that Senator Fierravanti-Wells  earned the displeasure of Mr Abbott when she rebuffed his request to withdraw her factional support for Liberal candidate Jaymes Diaz in the seat of Greenway.  Mr Diaz failed to overturn the ALP’s Michelle Rowland on margin of less than 1 per cent after being ridiculed for a TV interview.

The Coalition party-room will meet in Canberra on Thursday.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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