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'I Wish We Could Have Done It For Bob': Shorten Quits As Leader

Labor leader Bill Shorten has formally conceded the election, paving the way for Scott Morrison to claim victory for the Coalition.

  • The Opposition Leader confirmed he had called Scott Morrison to congratulate him on his win and formally admit defeat after a gruelling five-week election campaign.

Shorten also called time on his position as leader of the Labor Party, confirming he would not be putting his name up for the next leadership ballot of his party.

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"I want to say beyond this room to Australians who supported Labor, I know you're all hurting, and I am too."

Australian Labor leader Bill Shorten on stage with wife Chloe, concedes defeat at the Federal Labor Reception at Hyatt Place Melbourne. Photo: AAP

While there are still millions of votes yet to be counted, Shorten said he did not want to give anyone a false sense of hope.

"It is obvious that Labor will not be able to form the next government," he said.

"This has been a campaign, toxic at times, but now that the contest is over all of us have a responsibility to respect the result, respect the wishes of the Australian people."

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He said the challenge he had set for himself was that at poll closing time, "I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror and say there was nothing more that I could have done."

But ultimately he admitted he was disappointed by the result.

"I wish we could have won for the true believers, for our brothers and sisters in the mighty trade union movement," he said.

"I wish we could have done it for Bob."

Bob Hawke the 23rd Australian Prime Minister died just two days ago. Although ill health forced the Australian icon to miss the Labor campaign launch on May 4, he united with his former colleague Paul Keating to endorse Labor leader Bill Shorten's economic plan.

Bob Hawke. Photo: AAP

The day before his death, Hawke released a letter endorsing Shorten's leadership.

"Bravery, honesty and vision are needed of the next Australian government," Hawke said.

Shorten has been the leader of the Opposition since 2013 and described the Labor movement as being "his life".