Shorten warns Coalition not to take country for granted

THE newly installed leader of the Labor party is vowing to take back the country, with Bill Shorten warning his Coalition opponents they risk punishment if they take their regional supporters for granted.

After just 24 hours carrying the mantle of Opposition Leader, Mr Shorten revealed his leadership quartet including Tanya Plibersek as his deputy leader, Penny Wong as Senate Labor Leader and Stephen Conroy as her deputy.

A list of 26 others was also released as the Opposition's front bench, although their portfolios would not be announced until Friday.

Among those were leadership rival Anthony Albanese, former acting leader Chris Bowen and former employment minister Kate Ellis.

Mr Shorten promised to the "dark arts of negativity" which were so effectively employed against the former Labor government by the Opposition.

And in an ode to those Australians living beyond its largest centres, Mr Shorten said the ALP was "determined to win the confidence of people in regional Australia".

He said there would be "quite a number" of parliamentary secretaries and ministers living outside metropolitan centres.

"This country is more than three big cities, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne," he said.

"I think we have a remarkable nation, there's great lifestyles, great livings, great work and great communities outside big city Australia."

Mr Shorten, once described as ambitious and "rumpled in appearance" by confidential American embassy cables released by Wikileaks, bested Mr Albanese on the weekend after securing a combined majority of votes from Caucus and Labor's 40,000 rank-and-file members.

The majority of members backed Mr Albanese, but Mr Shorten's overwhelming support in caucus delivered him the result.

It was the first time Labor members were included in choosing their leader after former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd introduced new reforms to reinvigorate the party.

Due to the reforms, there is almost no chance of Mr Shorten being rolled for the job prior to the 2016 poll.

After announcing his team, Mr Shorten said he would take the fight to the Coalition, referencing the major party's humiliating loss of Indy - a seat held by Liberal favourite Sophie Mirabella - to an independent.

"One thing is for sure - if the Libs and Nats have some kind of pre-ordained right to simply expect the votes of regional Australia: have a look at Indy and have a look out for us," Mr Shorten said.



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