“The point that we’ve made all through the campaign is that what we are taking to the Australian people is what we will take to the parliament, so there is not going to be any deals in forming government.”
But he declined to weigh in on speculation that he will seek to move to the defense portfolio. As deputy leader, Marles can choose his preferred portfolio and confirmed he had spoken to Albanese about it but said “I’m not about to reveal it now”.
“I think I’ll be getting off on the wrong foot with my leader, if I was about to pre-empt what is obviously his announcement and so I’ll leave that to him in due course,” Marles said.
With Keneally and Butler almost certainly out of the parliament, there are two ministries up for grabs and the left and right facts would likely seek to secure one apiece. Labor sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said there would be a strong push for women to fill the two vacancies. On the left, NSW senator Jenny McAllister was floated as an option, as was Queensland Senator Murray Watt, while the strength of Labor’s results in WA could put Perth MP Patrick Gorman in the frame for promotion.
The shock loss of Keneally in Fowler, who is almost certain to lose what was a safe Labor western Sydney seat to independent Dai Le, will create a vacancy in the Home Affairs portfolio and is set to prompt soul-searching about the wisdom of parachuting in candidates over local grassroots members.
Marles was reluctant to declare Keneally’s political career over, as he was pressed on whether another seat would be found for her in the Parliament in the future.
“Kristina Keneally has been a wonderful servant of the Labor Party. We will continue to scrutineer the result in Fowler. We have our fingers crossed but we’ll see how that plays out,” he said.